3D Printing and Key Cutting
3D is a new technology that will revolutionise many industries including the locksmith and security industries. 3D printing is probably the biggest technological advance since The Internet. 3D printers can produce an item once scanned. Although plastic is the most common material used now, there are some 3D printers copying with steel and titanium and this will become more common. 3D printers don’t mill but build up an exact replica of what is scanned to the exact specification using a special formulating fluid that hardens.
Much like the way a regular printer uses toner cartridges. In 5 years’ time most homes will have a 3D printer as they currently cost around £800 but are expected to drop dramatically in price making them affordable for most households to create any object like a plate, a doll or even for Key Cutting!
By scanning keys with a smartphone, an image can be uploaded to a 3D printer to produce a copy of a key when required.
Probably the only keys secure from this technology will be those with floating pins or electronic chips as nearly all other keys will be replicated exactly by a scanner and copied to the nearest micrometre
Already a company in New York is advertising an app to download a copy of your key. If you are locked out, you simply go to a local store and they will print you off a new key for $15.
What does this mean
1) DIY Key Cutting – Homeowners locked out may be able to download a copy of their key and print it off on their neighbours 3D home printer.
2) Many restricted and patented security lock systems will be compromised by taking a digital photograph on their smart phone to print off a master key.
3) Keys can be copied without the owner being aware. Employees will be able to copy master keys or safe keys, Any key left down could be scanned and copied without the owner being aware of it. Scary !!!
Now is the time to start thinking and planning ahead as to how this will affect you and your security.